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 (09-010.14-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 433

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: June 8, 2007

Participants: Schreier, Alfred Benovich. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Moisei Lemster.

Location recorded: Drohobych, L'vivs'ka Oblast', Ukraine

Language: Yiddish, Russian, German

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

This recording is a continuation of a formal interview with Alfred Benovich Schreier. (Part 2 of 3. See MDV 432 and Accession # 09-010.08-F MDV 386)

00:00:00 Schreier talks about his life after the war, when he went through several DP camps. Because of Schreier’s insistence, he became the assistant of the department store director and primarily worked as a translator until the end of 1945, when an order came in that all former prisoners had to return to the Soviet Union. Schreier never formally studied the German language at school. Schreier continues that he then went to Dresden with an officer friend from the Soviet Army. He stopped at Hellerau first and then moved further to Dresden Klotzsche. Schreier worked as a translator at the Soviet Trade Administration until fall 1946. Vasily Sokolovsky issued a decree of return. The former camp inmates were taken to the central Soviet military base in Teltow. A German driver took Schreier to the Red Cross in Berlin, where he reported on his relatives in Argentina. According to Schreier, the living conditions were so horrible there, so that he returned to Teltow instead of trying to figure out his relatives’ address, requiring Schreier to stay for a minimum of two months. Schreier then travelled to Grodno, Byelorussia, for seven days, where he stayed at former prisoner camp. Schreier, a professional musician, played at restaurants in exchange for food. Schreier explains that he had to stay in Grodno until all Soviet soldiers born 1922 were released from the army. Schreier received a notification early 1946 permitted to leave. He traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania, joining a fellow musician from Drohobych. They returned to Drohobych together.
00:07:10 Schreier talks about his life after his return to Drohobych. He found work in a dance orchestra right away, before he studied at the local music institute and then at the Lviv Conservatory. Schreier got married in 1949. Schreier finished his studies he began at the Lviv Conservatory at the music department of the Pedagogical Institute in Drohobych. Schreier continued playing in a dance orchestra and taught at the musical institute for forty-two years. Schreier then talks about his family. He was the only survivor of his family. He also recalls his uncle Rabbi Dr. Bernard Schreier who taught religious studies at the Polish Jewish school.
00:10:22 Schreier talks about prewar Drohobych and its population structure. He recalls the positive relations among the different ethnic groups. He then talks about the religious education at the Polish school. Schreier recalls how religious instructors from different confessions came in to teach Jewish, Ukrainian, and Polish students. Schreier was taught by his uncle.
00:14:49 Schreier talks about contemporary life in Drohobych, as well as Jewish life. He then talks about the Choral (Great) Synagogue in Drohobych, which was built in 1865 and was the largest synagogue in prewar Poland. Schreier then talks about life and work during the Soviet period.
00:19:29 Schreier talks about Jewish life before the war. He then talks about the languages he spoke at home, including Polish and Hebrew for Schreier’s bar mitzvah. Schreier’s father grew up in Yiddish and his mother in Polish. He studied with his uncle for his bar mitzvah, who told him to recite part of his parsha in Polish. Schreier then talks about the poor Jewish neighborhood of Drohobych. He recalls how he visited this neighborhood with his teacher Bruno Schulz, who drew sketches of the buildings there. Schulz worked at Schreier’s school since 1924 without an official teacher’s permit. Only after Schulz passed his exams in 1936 at Cracow University, he received an official permit. Schreier continues to talk about Schulz, who studied drawing and carpentry, including his life during the war and legacy.
00:44:07 Schreier then discusses Jewish cultural life before the war. Schreier then shows a poster, advertising a film about Bruno Schulz. His paintings were hidden during the war. Schreier shows photographs of the synagogues.
00:54:41 Schreier talks about his work as a musician. He plays the violin, sings, and studied conducting. He then talks about Jewish life under German occupation, in particular he addresses how the chairman of the Judenrat (Jewish Council) Dr. Izak Rozenblat successfully set up a soup kitchen for children in the Choral Synagogue. Schreier continues to tell the story, when the police barged in on the first meal organized by the soup kitchen and shot all the children.
00:58:18 Schreier plays a Yiddish song, he sings about a Yiddishe Mame.
01:02:17 End of Recording.